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The Beast of Bellevue – 3.5 Star Book Review

Welcome to one of the November 20th review stops on the blog tour for The Beast of Bellevue by Grace Chen, organized by YA Bound Book Tours. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for promos, other reviews, book trailer features, and guest posts by the author!

Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.

About the Book

The Beast of Bellevue
by Grace Chen

Publishing 1 December 2020
by Reading Harbor

Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Page Count: 232
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

A twist on a tale as old as time…

Brilliant but shy seventeen-year-old Ava Pierce is locked away and forgotten by parents embarrassed to know her. Online she makes a connection with someone sharing her humor and deepest desires.

Seventeen-year-old Dylan Albright poses as his hunky older brother on a dating website for profit. Little does he realize, he’s put his own heart at stake.

Popular eighteen-year-old soccer star Alec Albright is loved by all but troubled by a dark past. What happens when he ends up falling for the same girl as his brother?

Gorgeous classmate Taylor Ford is used to getting what she wants, but what happens when what she wants is the one thing she can’t have?

Editorial Reviews

“My God, I could not wait to write about the plot. IT IS JUST GORGEOUS. I love so much the genre and similar stories that I couldn’t wait to finish school to come home and continue reading. If I didn’t have to do my homework and get up early, I would have spent all night reading the book and learning the ending.” – Angelina Gusarova

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My Review

My Rating: 3.5

I received a complimentary eARC of The Beast of Bellevue through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Beast of Bellevue is a modern spin on the Beauty and the Beast story but blended with teenage problems in a world full of modern technology. Ava has spent most of her life in a mental health facility and interacts with people her own age online. In some ways, she’s the “Beauty” of this situation and in other ways, it feels like she’s been written as the “Beast.” Her counterpart who also fills both roles in different ways is Dylan, who Ava thinks is actually his handsome older brother Alec. The real Alec and another teen named Taylor, both also POV characters, are dealing with the in-person tribulations of making it through high school with their reputations and popularity intact.

If I’m being completely honest, I wouldn’t have spotted the Beauty and the Beast elements if this book hadn’t been advertised as a retelling. As mentioned, the “Beauty” and “Beast” roles flip flop (though I get the feeling it was meant to be a straight swap and I wasn’t supposed to get a flip-flopping sense,) but the other POV characters truly don’t feel like any other traditional role in a Beauty and the Beast story. I also wanted to comment on the expectations set down by the cover. I know covers can change with editions, but the only presented at ARC time is a colourful portrait of Ava (I’m assuming) with a strong manga vibe. That artwork with that title lays down expectations of a misunderstood teenage shifter character and lead me to expect an urban fantasy story with a lot more action in the literal sense.

With those complaints aside, this is a powerfully character-driven story with very empathetic characters, and readers who are all about the characters they hang out with while reading will absolutely love this cast. This book is full of teenage coming of age troubles in a world that’s a little less fair and bright than any of them had been promised, and their struggles through these plot points feel so perfectly genuine.

If you’re looking for a teenage drama flavoured contemporary fiction with interesting technology, well-written characters, and a nod to Beauty and the Beast, then this is the novel for you! If you’re looking for a truer retelling, something more solidly plot-driven, or something with more flowery prose, look elsewhere. Overall this was a fun, quick read.

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About the Author

Grace Chen is a published author of three books so far. A research scientist by day, Grace also runs her own publishing company. This multi-talented woman also has a bachelor in biochemistry and molecular biology, as well as a master in chemistry. Grace likes to pursue her passions for helping the world through multiple avenues and has a diverse array of hobbies. She has even appeared on a TV reality show as a contestant for cooking.

Grace Chen’s latest book The Beast of Bellevue is a compelling story of a young girl, who inevitably sets off on a journey of independence, only to discover that all that is shiny is not always gold. This compelling story will hook you in from the first few pages, and be a book that you cannot put down till the end.

Grace’s ability to illustrate special moments in her words will capture your heart and soul from the moment you pick up this book.

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Jenna is the artist/illustrator and author behind Westveil Publishing and its sub-banner platforms Jenna Gets Creative and The Westveil Archives. She live in Newfoundland, Canada with her husband, daughter, and feline overlords.


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